“Has you daughter been eating hard candy like dum dum suckers?”
I looked at my dentist and wanted to lie. At school and church, Naomi gets treats for good behavior.
After a broken filling – and after this 60 Minutes piece called “Is Sugar Toxic” — I decided to try to limit my five year old’s sugary snacks. This turned out to be harder than expected. Everywhere, people offer children candy — at banks, on furniture show room floors, in church, at school. It’s become more of a behavior medication method than a treat. Since we adopted Naomi from Ethiopia, we have more food related angst than most people. However, I had to try to get her diet as sugar free as possible. (And, if we did splurge on sugar, it would homemade chocolate chip cookies, not dum dums.)
At least this was my plan. Subscribing to a Paleo diet, I packed my three kids’ lunches with things like almond milk, carrot sticks, cauliflower, fruit, meats, and even hard-boiled eggs. Naomi, who can’t read, came home from kindergarten, saying, “Why do I have ‘almond milk?’”
“How did you know it was almond milk?” I asked, knowing she can’t read.
“My friends told me I didn’t have the right kind of milk.”
My oldest kid, who’s 14, also came home with a litany of insults from her friends. “Your food stinks,” they said.
“No, it doesn’t. That’s what cauliflower smells like!”
One day, after weeks of struggling to find the right combination of foods, I had a victory.
“I didn’t get a sucker from the treasure box today,” my youngest proudly told me as she got into the car.
“Way to go!” I said. “Tell me how you made that choice.”
She said, without a trace of irony, “Well, I was talking during naptime, so I didn’t get to pick a treasure.”
“But it doesn’t matter if I get in trouble, because I’m not supposed to eat candy anyway!”
Naomi had figured it all out, but I hadn’t.
That’s when I heard about a new company called YummyHealth, and thought I’d give it a try. Mainly, I was attracted to the fact that their food is packaged in cool, normal ways that wouldn’t necessarily draw the attention of their friends. They had “chips,” bars, and drinks.
The founder’s message caught my attention. “We decided to try and take the fight out of food, not just for ourselves,” Lisa Goldbaum, Founder & CEO of YummyHealth wrote, “But for all parents who face the same struggles we did trying to get their kids to ‘dump the junk.’”
Sounds promising, but have you ever gone to the “health food aisle,” bought the expensive products, only to realize later that the food isn’t really all that much better for you? For example, you made sure to buy whole wheat crackers, only to be told later that you should avoid all wheat products? I was interested to know why these snacks were different, so I found this note about their nutritional information:
“Our products are much lower in sugar and processed starches—ingredients that can cause weight gain, cravings, and mood swings—than typical junk foods and even many so-called healthy’ snacks.
“We use real natural ingredients with real nutrients, like cocoa, coconut, almond butter and flax seed in our YummySnack Bar™, and real Wisconsin cheese and seasonings in our YummySnack Chips™, for clean energy that won’t have them bouncing off the walls and crashing moments later!
“And it’s not just what we put in, but what we leave out: you won’t find gluten, hydrogenated oils, trans fats, high-fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, artificial flavors or preservatives in any of our YummySwap products.”
The chocolate blast bar comes in a box of 12, for a cost of $33.48 before you add the shipping costs. But my family believed they were definitely worth the cost! At least the members of my family who’ve been weaned from high fructose corn syrup loved them. My son, who’s 12, hasn’t completely adopted a more healthful diet, so he wasn’t as content to go from a Hershey’s bar to the chocolate blast bar. With all of these products, one must adjust expectations — the high fructose corn syrup is so ubiquitous that we expect everything to be super-sweet. However, my fourteen year old daughter and I loved these so much that we had to ration them to one per day. They are coated with chocolate and have a coconut flavor, which totally works. There’s also something emotionally gratifying about tearing open a chocolate bar – at school or at home – and realizing that it fits within you eating program. Also delectable with a cup of coffee!
The YummySnack chips are actually cheese. “Instead of processed wheat, corn or potatoes, our chips are made of 99% real Wisconsin cheese, and a touch of wholesome seasonings,” the website reads. The have no hydrogenated oils, trans fats, gluten, or artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. Are they good? Again, with every major dietary change, you must re-adjust your expectations. My five year old daughter was expecting chips when she tore into the bag and wasn’t happy to find the cheesy snack chips. However, my oldest daughter and I thought they would be a good alternative to chips in lunches. (They remind me of what it tastes like when you bake cheese in the oven until the cheese is crispy, if you’ve ever done that.) One box contains 6 bags of Cheddar-flavored YummySnack Chips for $14.94.
The Zevia grape flavored drink blew us away. Sweetened with Stevia instead of aspartame, I had low expectations. I’m a big Diet Dr. Pepper fan, no matter what people told me about the supposed evils of aspartame. However, my family and friends loved the refreshing drink, which has no sugar, artificial sweeteners or flavors. My husband calls this drink “our new addiction.” One case, which includes 24 tall cans of Zevia, costs $23.96 not including shipping. In addition to the grape flavored drink, Yummy Health also offers Zevia cola, and Mountain Zevia.
You’ll pay more for the healthy snacks than the snacks that has the high fructose corn syrup at the store. Once, after switching to the Paleo diet, I remarked “This is not cheap.”
A friend said, “neither is obesity.”
Which is true. YummyHealth has a noble goal: to do something about the obesity epidemic in American kids. Heck, in us all. Their products aren’t magic bullets which will make your kids healthier if you simply begin packing them in their lunchboxes. However, as we all struggle to figure out the best way to raise and feed our kids, Yummy Health might be just the right tool for parents who are developing an overarching dietary plan for their kids…. and are possibly having trouble sticking with it.
The next time you’re standing at the counter and wondering what to put in your kids’ lunchboxes, consider these delicious products from a great new company.
Leave a comment below for your chance to win a box of the YummyHealth chocolate blast bars! We’ll randomly select a winner on June 11th!
CONGRATULATIONS TO CHRIS MIN PARK, THE WINNER OF THE RANDOM DRAWING BELOW!